Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Visit From Santa

The night of Christmas Eve I had to get up as usual about fifty times to take a leak. The sixth or seventh time, to my surprise I met Santa Claus in my living room. I thought he was going to leave me a million shares of Apple stock as a Christmas present. Instead, he was searching for my liquor cabinet.

“Where is it?” he asked.

“Where is what?” I responded.

“The blind tiger, the white mule, the moonshine. You know, the hooch!”

I was speechless. He continued.

“People leave me milk and cookies, when what I really want is a stiff brace,” he said. He did not sound like a happy camper.

“You mean Santa Claus is a soak?” I asked.

“Of course I am. Why do you think I am always ‘Ho Ho Ho-ing’ all the time?”

I had to confess, I had never thought about it.

“This time in the morning on Christmas I am usually pretty plastered. It gets cold up there in the air this time of year,” said Santa Claus. “Here I am driving an open sleigh with bags of toy crap for kids I don’t even know. And the best the little elves could do was fix me up with this silly red suit.”

“It doesn’t look very warm.” I admitted.

“It’s got holes in it,” he said, pointing out several places where the fabric had completely worn through. “If I didn’t have this long handled underwear on, they’d have fished me out of the Great Lakes long before now. Besides that, it looks like hell. Can you imagine going out in public dressed like this?”

I had to admit, it did not look like my idea of forward fashion.

“But what about Mrs. Claus?” I asked. “Why don’t you get her to sew you a nice woolen suit?”

“What Mrs. Claus?” he answered. Nobody would want a fat old drunk like me.”

“Not much of a singles scene at the North Pole, I take it,” I took it.

He ignored my response. “And then there’s all those toys they’re importing from China with the lead in them and all. I’m telling you. You’d drink, too, if you were Santa Claus.”

“Yes, if I were Santa Claus I certainly would drink, that’s for sure,” I said, more to myself than to him.

“Where’s the hooch?” he asked again. His voice was raspy. I could tell he was suffering from alcohol withdrawal. And the night before Christmas was not even half over. When he agreed to do this flying around stuff every year Santa Claus pulled a bad gig.

“There is no liquor cabinet in the place,” I confessed. “I’m a teetotaler. I am too nice to drink. You’re supposed to know who’s naughty and nice.”

“I am?” asked the intruder.

“Of course you are. You’re Santa Claus.”

“Yes, I am, aren’t I,” he said. “I was so busy looking for a snort I forgot my role. Haven’t you got at least a beer in the fridge?” he said, looking in the fridge.

“I’ve got Diet Coke if you want one.”

He slammed the fridge door contemptuously.

I started making a fire in the fire place. Santa Claus panicked.

“Not to worry,” I said. “It’ll help you get warm.”

“But I can’t go back up the chimney,” he said. “How do I get out of here?”

“You go out the front door, the way all the other intruders do.”

He smacked his forehead in surprise that he hadn’t thought of it.

And so it was that I sat in front of the fire with Santa Claus until the wee hours, discussing global warming, polar bears, the melting polar ice cap, the care and feeding of reindeer, the hassle of managing a toy shop filled with little elves, and what a bummer it was to slide down chimneys, only to get attacked by the family dog or trip the burglar alarm.

“The police have come after me three times already tonight,” Santa Claus said. “There weren’t any burglar alarms when I first got started,” he said. After centuries of this, Santa Claus was thinking of retiring.

“This Santa Claus crap isn’t what it’s cracked up to be,” he told me.

And with that he gave me the best Christmas present I could ever have. I used to envy Santa Claus, but no more. My ho hum life was looking pretty good compared to his. At last he bade me farewell and went back up the chimney. With the fire I had built licking at his ass, it was “Ho Ho Ho” all the way up.

So I have no desire to be Santa Claus anymore. One more step in the process of learning to like my life. Now if Bill Gates, James Bond, and Alex Rodriguez come down my chimney and tell me all their problems my vindication will be complete.

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